NHL 12

By Daavpuke, Posted 27 Aug 2011

"A ton of modes and an intuitive control scheme."

Publisher: EA
Release Date: September 9, 2011
Platform(s): PS3, X360
Genre: Sports


Hello all. My name is Daav Valentaten and I’m not a sports fan and I haven’t been in about a decade. The latest sports simulator I own would probably be Pro Evolution Soccer 2 or 3; whichever has the ref Molina on the cover. Let’s say I’ve moved on to different things, as yearly updates on the same thing aren’t my bag. So feel free to color me biased for the remainder of this article.

That said, it was also impossible for me to get invested into the newest football edition, Pro Evolution Soccer 12. Why is really irrelevant. Let’s just say that someone else will do a much better job at catering to that specific market of consumers. But I feel different about NHL 12, partially because my favorite movie director, Kevin Smith, is a huge fan and is raving about this game. But more importantly, it’s because the game doesn’t strike the popularity of aforementioned sport and it has a slightly different focus.


NoobFeed Preview - NHL 12


First off, the control scheme isn’t as convoluted as some other games. There are an ample set of options for both sides of the puck, but not so many that it just gets confusing. Furthermore, the use of control sticks gives an additional intuitive feel to some scoring methods, such as the wrist or slap shot. If players feel like doing some lesser legal moves, there’s an option for those as well; anything that regards your fancy. Body checks, hip checks, panel crushes, slashing; it’s all there and each gets one or two options at most and lets the AI think of the specifics. It keeps the game pace fun and swift, as the concentration can be kept to where the puck is or where it’s going. The pace is very swift though and it sometimes gets hard to make out where the action is really taking place. This can create some panic or unwanted warnings, so staying locked in the game is fairly mandatory.

A game of hockey is also different than most sports, because of obviously different physics aspects. One can’t just change direction on the ice whenever it pleases them and NHL 12 portrays this well. The solid control system assures that at any given time, whether skating in or out of the target zone; one can make sure to have an option ready. You could also use these physics to your advantage, such as pinning players to the sideboards. Unfortunately, checks usually come off fairly weak. It’s one of the only visual aspects the game should advance on; anything else is good enough. And what other sports game has bands like Anthrax and Murderdolls in the soundtrack? That’s a plus right there; no hipster flavor of the week for the boys here. It’s all about rocking it.


NoobFeed Preview - NHL 12


Even when not actively being part of the action, players can call plays and strategies or watch as the AI anticipates the action. In the grueling pace of icy speeds, it can be a lifesaver from time. But if all else fails, it’s even possible to act as one’s own goalie, though if you fail then, it’s all on you. Hell, there’s even a fighting option. Now, it is questionable whether a sports game should actually have a separate first-person mechanic for fights. It seems to enable sports violence, making it a part of the game it should technically not be. But let’s put aside political correctness for a bit and see the quirky brawl for what it is. At the very least, it’s just a fun sidestep, with the ability to throw punches block and ultimately guard your honor as top dog. Though penalties will occur, no saving that.

But aside the accessibility towards casual players such as myself, NHL 12 is naturally still catering towards the fan. And it’s not just catering towards them; it’s honoring them with a barrage of additional content. There aren’t just some options to play a match and tournaments; this hockey game makes sure to include the history of the sport. Game modes to make a career and be a manager are usually standard, but it also offers modes to relive classic teams, obtain trading cards of players and use them in a fantasy line-up. There is a ton of alternative game modes, too much for a casual person like me, but one thing is certain: fans won’t be disappointed.  Who hasn’t put all their trading cards in a line-up and dreamt of the ultimate team at their disposal. NHL takes this simple idea and creates magic with it. Naturally, stats and all that glorious gunk applies to it as well. Not happy with those stats? Then create a Pro player of your choosing and go for gold as you rank up stats and try to beat the legends at their own game.


NoobFeed Preview - NHL 12


NHL 12 might still not appeal to all players with all the technical details in place, but at least it tries to be accessible to all markets. I have 0 knowledge of the game and its rules and still I can find some fun aspects in it. That seems to be a rare occurrence in sport simulators these days. But it also doesn’t alienate fans; it embraces both worlds and offers the best of both. With a ton of modes and an intuitive control scheme, a sports game can’t really go wrong and that makes this game something to look out for.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

comments powered by Disqus

  • Impressive, Daav... you have really learned to put your feelings toward the subject out there and then allow the unbiased analysis of the game roll. I expected a hate-rage on jocks here, but instead got a pretty great idea as to how the game plays and what it excels and fails at. Really, just a good piece of writing across the board. Well done, sir!!!

    Posted Aug 29, 2011

  • @gdw0908: That comment warmed my icy heart

    Posted Aug 30, 2011

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